All the cool kids are doing it

And that, my friends, is how I ended up at an axe-throwing parlor (??? is that what the cool kids are calling it???) on Friday evening. Our friend’s younger brother decided it would be an awesome spot for a birthday party, so off we went. I was pleasantly surprised with the outing. We had a lot of fun. I didn’t always manage to stick the axe, but the two times I did were a bulls-eye and just off-center. Go me!

Other than dipping our toes into axe throwing, we had a great weekend. My mom came into town, so we hung out with her. When we showed up at the dumpling’s daycare Friday afternoon with Grandma in tow, the little dude nearly lost his mind. Grandma’s here! Oh boy! I had to laugh the next morning when my mom could barely take a moment to herself without the dumpling calling out Grandma?! Where are you? You know what this meant right? It meant I could actually pee in peace. Oh sweet, sweet bliss.

We were completely lazy Sunday, I mean, almost pre-child levels of laziness. It was awesome. We watched Daniel and Dinosaurs and football and read books. I highly recommend you get yourself one of these lazy Sundays.

On a much less positive note, I went to have my blood drawn again today and realized that I would have been 6 weeks along tomorrow. Weird. I wonder when that will pass? When will I stop pausing on Tuesdays and wondering what symptoms I would have been experiencing or how my belly would have changed my then? And what’s going to happen when September 14, my due date, rolls around? I hope I’ll be ok. I try to be ok, but there’s not exactly a “normal” way to process all of this.

In the meantime, I’m just trying to find the things to enjoy. Sharing a bottle of champagne with my mom. The fact that this new class format is kicking my butt to teach right now and how much more challenging it would be if I were still pregnant. Little things like that help me keep a positive frame of mine.

To end on a funnier note: the dumpling pulled out a new trick this weekend. He’s recently acquired the verbal skills to protest diaper changes. When he has a dirty diaper and he knows it, he’ll say no wipes though, of course, we have to use wipes. He told me the other day that they’re cold, which I get. Probably also starting to dislike the invasion into his personal space, which I also get. Anyway, Saturday he did something different. I had him on his changing table and he laid there and said no wipes and then he busted out I sick! complete with the perfect amount of woe as he covered his eyes with his hands. I dutifully wrangled him took his temperature and offered some Tylenol. He seemed just a bit too pleased with the Tylenol is all I’m saying.



It turns out we didn’t have to wait that long.

The results from my labs came back yesterday afternoon. My hCG level was ridiculously low (4 mIU/mL*). Especially considering the strong initial positives I got, the level is low enough to indicate a miscarriage. I go back next Monday to have my labs redrawn. We want to make sure my hCG level drops completely.

And with that, my second pregnancy truly is over.

I have restrictions for the next month or so, to make sure my body heals properly. Since I was pregnant, my doctor wants to make sure my body returns to its pre-pregnant state. We have to put our attempts at conceiving on hold for a while, again to give my body time to heal.

We’re doing ok though, honestly. My doctor commented that we were in great spirits, considering. And we really are. In our minds, this is a good outcome. Clearly something happened during conception, be it chromosomal issues or a botched implantation. A clean miscarriage is a much better option than a complicated, risky pregnancy. It definitely throws a wrench into our timeline, but we’ll adapt.

*I can save you the googling. The typical hCG range for a women who is 5 weeks pregnant is 18 – 7,340 mIU/mL. It varies a lot due to late implantation, plus the fact that it doubles so quickly during early pregnancy. The pregnancy test I used can detect hCG of 25 mIU/mL. And remember, I got a glaringly obvious positive result the first time, implying I was well above the minimum of 25 mIU/mL when I tested the first time. I agree with my doctor’s conclusion. Even without another blood draw for a comparison point, it’s pretty clear that my levels are dropping.

No news

I really don’t have any further official news since Monday.

I started the progesterone Monday evening. The heavy bleeding subsided Tuesday morning, though I’m still having what I would consider heavy spotting. And I’ve done a whole lot of googling, from what little information I can glean from my patient portal. A whole lot of googling.

[And here is where I will put a pinpoint as a warning for all of those who are trying so hard to conceive or those of you experiencing loss or the tenderhearted among us because we are about to have a real tough conversation, you and I. Fair warning.]

The way I see it, I basically have three diagnoses on the table: (1) threatened miscarriage due to low progesterone, (2) threatened miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormalities, (3) subchorionic hematoma or SCH.

In the first case, low progesterone is the cause of the bleed and the pregnancy and baby are otherwise viable. I have already been prescribed a progesterone supplement and was shocked to see that it’s a three-month prescription. I suppose I would have to be on it for several weeks, until the placenta takes over production, though I would obviously need to clarify that with my doctor. Honestly, this is probably the “best” outcome though it seems somewhat unlikely given I’ve already carried a baby to full-term without the need of progesterone supplements.

In the second case, a miscarriage is the final result. This may take a while to play out, considering my bleeding has stopped at this point (so I’m definitely not actively miscarrying at this point in time). I’ve already had two ultrasounds and we’ve seen development between them. I could be experiencing a blighted ovum where there’s actually no baby to begin with. The baby could simply stop developing. My body could refuse to finish the job, so to speak. I’d need medical intervention at that point. Though it may take a while to unravel, I’d say that this is my second best diagnosis if only because it’s a clear-cut resolution and a clean slate.

In the third case, an SCH is the only complication of an otherwise viable pregnancy. This is where things get really complicated and unsure because the outcome depends largely on the size and placement of the SCH. Resources vary vastly in their prognosis and long-term outcome, though they unanimously say that many women with SCH’s go on to have healthy pregnancies. Some resources mention bed rest or activity limitations (for instance, no lifting anything over 10 pounds which would mean that I wouldn’t be able to lift the dumpling). No exercise. Some exercise. Pelvic rest, including no orgasms (which, dang, that would suck). But then again, other resources make it seem like a perfectly normal and simple complication. And I can’t find any information on whether these limitations are for the entire pregnancy or just while the SCH is actively bleeding. This will probably come off as callous, but I do not want this baby bad enough to not lift my preschooler or not teach my exercise class or not have sex for the next nine months. I am not that desperate.

And so, we’re just waiting to see what happens. I haven’t heard back from my doctor on the results of my labs from Monday (which is beginning to drive me bonkers). I keep thinking that the ultrasound on Tuesday will provide some answers until I remember that – through all of this activity – I will only be six weeks along. We may not even verify a heartbeat on Tuesday if only because it’s too early still. Gah!

Anyway, all of this… deluge of information is just my way of trying to wrap my brain around this. I truly thought I was having a miscarriage on Sunday and I have already grieved in a way. The idea that this pregnancy could continue just doesn’t compute. And when I think about trying to continue the pregnancy in face of dire statistics and heavy restrictions and poor fetal outcome…. well, I’d just rather not, thanks. But then, did I really just think that? And what if there’s never a definitive diagnosis, which is probably just as likely a scenario as any other. What then??

I have no idea.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Not quite over

Apparently, there’s a little more ambiguity to the tremendous amount of blood coming out of my nether-regions than I originally thought.

Oh I’m sorry, were you eating? My apologies.

I called my doctor today, honestly half expecting for them to tell me to stay home and rest and what-not. Self-care and all that. Instead, I got the red carpet treatment as appointments were shifted to accommodate me as early as possible. I had a wonderfully embarrassing moment once I arrived, which I’m sure you’ll all enjoy: I didn’t really know what to expect out of this appointment. I had stopped on the way to get some water, thinking they’d need me to pee in a cup (they didn’t). I was shown into the examination room and told to strip from the waist down in case my OB wanted to examine me (I hadn’t even thought about that). Since I was bleeding, they helpfully put what resembled a puppy pad on the table for me. I stripped down and hopped up on the table and waited for a minute or two before realizing… you know, I bet my cup would be in the way if he wants to examine me. I thought about going to the restroom for a minute, but spotted the sink in the exam room and hopped off the table to take my menstrual cup out right then. Of course – OF COURSE – my cup decides to hug my cervix as close as freaking possible and I was frantically groping at it, trying to pull it down within my grasp. That took up precious seconds that I didn’t have, apparently, as my OB knocked to enter the room while I was emptying my cup, clasping the pink paper sheet clumsily around my bare butt while trying to turn off the water and also get paper towels and also make this seem like the most natural thing in the world. Ahhh, such class and grace.

Anyway, I hastily wrapped my cup in a paper towel and hopped back up on the table. I’m 95% sure I didn’t flash him or anything, but then I remembered that he has seen inside my vagina. Hell, he’s seen inside my abdominal cavity…. I don’t think seeing my bare butt would phase him.

ANY-anyway, the appointment resulted in more questions than answers. I am definitely bleeding, a lot, but my cervix is closed. The ultrasound didn’t really show anything (no cute little blueberry) but that could just be because I’m still not quite even 5 weeks along. They drew blood for lab work and prescribed progesterone, just in case. My doctor let me go with instructions to call back if my bleeding gets heavier or hasn’t let up in a couple of days. We kept my original follow-up appointment on the books for next Tuesday, complete with an ultrasound.

And that’s where I am right now. Google University tells me that I’m experiencing a threatened miscarriage, where my body is basically deciding whether or not to miscarry. My cervix being closed is good news because once it opens, my body is truly miscarrying and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Crazily enough, about half of women who experience threatened miscarriages go on to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy. Which is a crazy thought, given the amount of bleeding I have right now. Luffy sort of thinks we should just wipe the slate clean now. I tend to agree. I mean, if my uterus is wishy-washy on the viability of the whole pregnancy now, perhaps we should just go with its gut and start over.

So yeah – we’ll see. I think I’m still going to miscarry. I’ve been having cramps, felt even through a double dose of Aleve. My doctor thought my bleeding would subside since he “wiped” most of it out of me this morning. I can assure you that it has not subsided. I haven’t taken my progesterone yet, so perhaps that will help. Only time will tell.


And just like that, my second pregnancy is over.

I don’t want to be dramatic about it, frankly, because I don’t “deserve” that badge. I was pregnant for a week. I found out ridiculously early, so this miscarriage is actually deemed a chemical pregnancy. There are many stories much worse than mine.

I had some spotting last week, starting on Wednesday, that never really let up. It didn’t get any heavier though, so I just assumed it was due to the pelvic exam Tuesday and (ahem) sex. I made a mistake though and took another pregnancy test Friday morning. I had been hoping to see some line progression – darkening lines on the hCG indicator. I had tested Tuesday morning and had been a little dismayed to find that my lines hadn’t gotten any darker since my first test, four days prior. However, my retest on Friday in pursuit of reassurance brought me far from that. My test, though still technically positive, was drastically lighter than my first test a week prior. That, combined with the spotting, made me concerned I was going to experience a miscarriage. A worry which came to fruition this morning when I woke up to bright red spotting that quickly turned into a heavier flow.

The silver lining here though is that since this is basically a heavy period, we can start trying again right away (at least, according to my research – I intend to call my doctor tomorrow to make sure). And I have another couple of weeks to drink some wine, so there’s that.

And that’s all I really have. My inner superstitious self is side-eyeing my writing though. It can never really be that easy can it?

Doctor’s confirmation

I mentioned that I had my Well Woman visit scheduled for yesterday. It went well. Hooray! (as the dumpling would say)

As I was being led back to get my weight and blood pressure taken, I mentioned that I had just gotten a positive pregnancy test. They administered their own test and my doctor went through the routine Well Woman’s visit as we waited for the results. They came back positive as well – yay! – though faint. My LMP puts me at 4w0d exactly. (And, in talking with my OB, we decided to use the later date, 12/11, as the date of LMP. As painful as that is right now to “lose” several days of progress, it will ensure that the dumpling 2.0* is as mature as possible in the end.)

My doctor had me go in for an ultrasound, but there really wasn’t anything to be seen at 4w0d. I’ll go back in two weeks for a follow-up, to check placement of the embryo and see if there’s a heartbeat to be seen.

As far as how I’m doing at barely four weeks along, I have to say better than last time. At least in terms of head space. I’m feeling really great still, though it’s pretty early to be feeling any true symptoms. I have some moderate cramping that seems to be helped with hydration. Overnight my water consumption more than doubled in an effort to stay ahead of the cramping. I’m also waiting for the reassuring line progression on my pregnancy tests, just like last time. I tested again this morning and was a little dismayed to find that my line is identical to the line from Friday morning. I’m reminding myself that I’m still really, really early. I’m going to try to hold off on testing again until next week, though I might not make it that long.

Other than that, I’m pretty relaxed this time around. It almost feels like an afterthought as I remember to take my prenatal vitamin or have a thought to have wine with dinner and then remember – oh right! that!

*I really need to brainstorm a better nickname. I don’t like dumpling 2.0 because this little bean isn’t the second version of the dumpling. He/She is his/her own little person! I could stick with the whole theme I have going on here… maybe pot-sticker? Or I could call this little one bao. As in xiao long bao. Guess I’ll just have to see what sticks!

Not what you came here for

I know we have things to talk about… doctor’s appointments and opinions on cycles and all that. But I can’t talk about any of that right now because I can barely hear myself think. And I was going to tell you all about that, but then I realized that I have told you nothing about that so HOLD ON TO YOUR HORSES! Belle has a lot to talk about today.

Let’s go back to mid-October. I know right – how have I not mentioned any of this since October??? The answer is that it’s just been moving along so slowly that it’s been a mostly boring process. Anyway, mid-October, a Saturday. It was raining and we’d just gotten back from lunch. Since it was raining, I closed the garage door before getting out of the car to get the dumpling out. As I walked around the back of the car, a fat droplet of water splashed to the ground in front of me. As I peered up at the ceiling, I spotted a the telltale inverted puddle on the ceiling. Roof leak. Well crap.

I climbed up to the ceiling and, thankfully, didn’t find the lake of water that I feared. I did notice a slow drip down one of the roof’s beams, confirming a roof leak. As it appeared to be a very slow leak, I wasn’t too terribly concerned. I called several roofers on Monday morning, knowing that it might be a while before anyone could get back to me (lots of storms in the area mean busy roofers). While waiting to hear back on the calls I had placed, I had a guy call me, based on some information I had given to HomeAdvisers. We agreed to meet in a couple of days, when I’d be at the house (and when the forecast was finally free of rain).

I was hoping for some guidance on whether to repair or replace the roof. I didn’t know how old, exactly, our roof was. We haven’t done any roof work and when we bought the house, five years ago, they certainly weren’t advertising a new roof. That places good odds that the roof is at least seven years old. Depending on how expensive or extensive the repair would be, it might be a better idea to replace the roof.

But then, my new roof-savior appeared. Ryan was knowledgeable and extremely helpful and quite willing to go toe-to-toe with our insurance company. I was impressed that first meeting when he had Allstate’s (our insurance company, though he didn’t know that beforehand) claim number in his contacts. We called them up on the spot to start the claim process. I was even more thoroughly impressed when Ryan rattled off the date and time of the storm (which had rolled through in June!). And thus we began our journey with Allstate.

I won’t give you all the back-and-forth though there are a few highlights:

  • Somehow, the claim we filed that first day didn’t get entered correctly. It appeared in Allstate’s system as a claim number with nothing attached. It took me calling in several times to get the issue sorted out and the process started for real.
  • We had a very contentious first inspection when Allstate’s ladder guy refused to label our roof as hail damaged. Incongruently, they agreed that the vents and gutters had hail damage and that the interior damage was also storm related. So all the trimmings are due to hail damage and the inside damage is due to the storm, but not the roof? Not that the roof was fine, mind you. Oh no, everyone agreed that the roof was shot. The first ladder guy argued that it was blistering instead.
  • We requested for a re-inspection almost immediately, with Ryan adamant that Allstate should cover the roof.
  • After the first inspection, when we knew this process might take a bit longer than anticipated, Ryan had his guys put on a temporary cover to seal up the roof a bit better. The next time it rained, I was appalled to discover that rain water sluicing off our garage door when it opens, what I had assumed to be a little quirk (quick! run around the car before you get wet!), turned out to actually be a symptom of the leak. I had been dealing with this little quirk for months. MONTHS. And I’d never realized.

And that brings you up to just a few days before Christmas. Our re-inspection was scheduled for Friday, December 21st. We had an adjuster, a quality control inspector, and a senior ladder assist from Allstate, as well as our own contractor, Ryan. So many people! After some initial disagreement (the ladder assist “didn’t see” hail damage on his first pass through), Allstate finally agreed to recognize the hail damage and cover the full roof replacement. Merry Christmas! You’re getting a new roof!

So that’s what we’re doing today! Getting a new roof! The materials were delivered early yesterday morning. The dumpling was living his best preschooler life as he gleefully watched the forklift drive up and down our driveway. I about had a heart attack this morning when I spotted someone walking across our backyard before dawn this morning, only to realize that it was the roofers, here bright pre-dawn and early. (The dumpling adorably decided the noise he was hearing was thunder.)

And now I must confess that while I am very distracted from all the hammering, my primary reason for writing all of this down is so that in several years, when I can’t remember when we put the new roof on, I can look back and figure it out. (Which is the only reason I know when we put the floors in.) Yay for adulthood, when every year starts to run together!